According to Statistics Canada, women aged 55 or older have become the demographic group with the fastest growing presence in the Canadian labour market. Older women with experience are eager to work and to commit themselves to new and different occupations. This is often valuable to employers, especially because the older women in question are still very enthusiastic to learn on the job from their fellow employees.
The question of why this trend is growing, is one with several possible answers. Employers may value older, existing workers since training time is reduced or non-existent and employee confidence comes more easily to someone who is older and has more experience. This trend may not be attributed to employers hiring new employees but rather retaining their already-trained existing employees by accommodating them and making their jobs more flexible.
As for the women themselves, perhaps older women are finding that their family’s economic situation is not as stable as they had hoped it would be by the time they reached retirement age, so they are working, instead of retiring, in order to contribute to their savings. Alternatively, perhaps women simply want to continue working in new and challenging ways, as a means of keeping themselves busy and engaged.
Another explanation may be that there are simply too few qualified, young men and women who are interested and/or available to work in Canada, leading to a higher demand for qualified workers no matter what age or gender.
So what does this growing trend mean for Canadian immigration policy?
Currently, a greater emphasis is placed on attracting and accepting skilled workers between the ages of 25 and 54. Canadian immigrants within this age group are attractive because they are more likely, than older applicants, to come to Canada with a young family and be ready to participate in the Canadian labor market.
However, given the growing demand for older women joining the Canadian labour force, perhaps Canadian immigration policies should be revised to be more open and accepting of women who are skilled workers and slightly older than the core age demographic group. These women have a lot to contribute to the Canadian labour market, and given their experience, long-term commitment and potential contributions to their occupation, they may be even more valuable than young foreign workers in certain respects.
On the other hand, if demand is greater for older women by default, because there are not enough younger skilled workers, then perhaps Canadian immigration policy should aim to attract a greater number of young skilled workers to Canada. This could be done by making it easier for young and educated Canadian immigration applicants to get work permits and thus access to the Canadian labour market. If there are more young workers in Canada, filling the jobs that the larger baby boomer generation are beginning to leave behind, it would help contribute to the pensions of the retiring baby boomers and enable them to reap the benefits of a lifetime of hard work, with a well-earned and well-supported retirement.
Given the many questions that these new statistics are raising, there is only one thing that is certain; Canadian immigration policy makers need to evaluate these findings to understand them better and must determine the most efficient way to respond to these numbers, by making adjustments to Canadian immigration policies for federal skilled workers.
For more information about immigrating to Canada, contact FWCanada – Canadian Immigration Law Firm